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Thursday, 11 September 2003
Page: 19818


Mr SLIPPER (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Administration) (9:24 AM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The bill makes consequential amendments to the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 and the Superannuation Contributions Tax (Assessment and Collection) Act 1997 to provide for the tax consequences of the election commitment of the government to allow members to split both their personal and their employer superannuation contributions with their spouses. The exact details of how the splitting measure will operate will be specified under regulations.

Contribution splitting is a key element of the government's superannuation reforms. It will assist families to maximise the benefits available in superannuation and provide an avenue for spouses to share their superannuation benefits. This is important for families with only one working spouse in the home or where one spouse receives a low income. The splitting of superannuation contributions will benefit many families. It will particularly assist low-income or non-working spouses to have superannuation assets under their own control and to have their own income in retirement. This measure is expected to benefit women in particular. It will provide single-income couples, including those not able to make voluntary contributions, with access to two eligible termination payments, low-rate thresholds and two reasonable benefit limits in the same way as dual-income families.

For taxation purposes, the contributions which are split and paid to another fund or transferred to an account for an existing fund for a spouse will be considered an eligible termination payment rollover. Also, any surcharge liability that attaches to those contributions will remain with the splitting spouse and generally will be payable by the superannuation provider who received the original contribution. I commend this bill to the House and I present the explanatory memorandum.

Debate (on motion by Mr Swan) adjourned.